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(September 21–25, 2005)

Martin Frost

Refinery of Gdansk

Zsolt Frei

Interim Storage Facility for the Spent Fuel at the Paks Nuclear Power Plant

Paks, Hungary

Autumnal equinox, 2005

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© 2005 Zsolt Frei, All Rights Reserved.

Hungary has one Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) at Paks, which is operational since 1982, and provides 40 percent of the total electrical energy needs of the country.

In 1995 the likely interruption (due to political changes that took place earlier that decade) of the spent fuel reshipment to Russia lead to a fairly immediate problem in Hungary. The spent fuel ponds became nearly full at the Paks NPP by the end of the 1995 refueling. The Paks NPP awarded a contract for the construction of a modular vault dry storage (MVDS) system at the NPP's site. The Hungarian Atomic Energy Commission issued a license in February 1995 for its construction.

The fuel rods are stored for 5 years at the NPP and are subsequently transferred here for another 50 years of storage. The temperature of the rods are around 90 deg. Celsius that is stabilized by natural air cooling.

The pano was taken inside the building at the so called “walking level”. Under the lead covers (two of which were removed for a better view) there are the rods in sealed steal tubes filled with nitrogen gas. You can see the delicate plumbing of the gas on this pano. The rods are about 4 meters high, below our feet.

All these, and similar long-life, and/or high-activty radioactive waste should be stored permanently in underground storage facilities. Hungary will need such a place in about 2040. There are exploratory studies under way at the moment in search for a geologically suitable location within the country. This study is conducted, and other radwaste sites are managed by the Public Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (PURAM) in Hungary. They gave me access to this site for the sake of this pano.
Hardware: Canon 300D, Canon 17-40 4.0 L, Manfrotto 55 ProB tripod, custom made 3D pano head. Software: PanoTools, PS, MakeCubic

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